The Miami Dolphins will invade MetLife Stadium on Sunday at 1:00 and Dolphins fans will invade Metlife around 11:00. It’s the Metlife Takeover, DolfansNYC‘s annual New York party.
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For Miami, there are five areas that must be improved upon if they have any hope of knocking the Jets down a notch below .500. Miami enters the game 4-6 and the Jets are 5-5. A win will put the Dolphins tied with the Jets and will also negate the season sweep by New York.
In order fo the Dolphins to win on Sunday, they need to do the following. And do it well.
Miami must win this game on the line of scrimmage. Both sides. Ndamukong Suh is playing far better than he was in week four when Miami faced the Jets in London. He is really coming on strong since Dan Campbell made physicality a point of emphasis. One could also attribute his change in play to the vacated Kevin Coyle whom Suh didn’t care for. While Suh has been playing well, Olivier Vernon finally has realized that he is in a contract season. Over the last three weeks, Vernon has played his best football since his sophomore season.
Offensively the Dolphins need to do a far better job of blocking. Something we continually say each and every week. The Dolphins Jason Fox has to cut down on his penalties because frankly they are killing drives. While Dallas Thomas and Billy Turner have been up and down, they need to find far more consistency in order to keep pressure off Ryan Tannehill and open interior running lanes.
Bill Lazor has far too often abandoned the rushing game this year. That would be fine if the rushing attack wasn’t working but as the game progresses, Lamar Miller gets better and Jay Ajayi is starting to show why many believed he was the 3rd best runner in last April’s draft. Lazor says that they don’t necessarily abandon the run as much as they take what the defenses are giving them. That’s all well and fine but great or even good offenses dictate to the defense not the other way around. This is a big problem for Miami and one that must be addressed at the end of the season. Lazor’s play-calling is at times horrible and at other times head scratching. On Sunday, Lazor must commit to pounding the football and wearing out the Jets defense. That will in turn open the passing game.
Darrelle Revis is out which will open the field a little more for Ryan Tannehill. Dan Campbell said this week that having Revis out of the game is a big factor but nothing that will change the way the prepare for the game. He said it won’t change what they are planning to do. I say BS. Teams game plan around Revis and the Dolphins would have done the same. Now they can integrate more of their offense and Revis being out gives Tannehill another option to throw to. Miami wouldn’t necessarily stay away from Revis but they would not likely target him either. Using Revis’ absence to their advantage will give the Dolphins more production on the field.
Ryan Tannehill seems to be in a funk. Attribute that to Bill Lazor, the offensive line, or his own inabilities. One thing is for certain, Tannehill needs to develop better pocket awareness. This week he will face a strong defensive front and the Jets will get pressure throughout the game. He needs to move out of the pocket and start learning to get out of that pressure. Tannehill is at his best when he is rolling out so he needs to feel the pressure on his blind side and get away from it. Tannehill has also improved considerably with his deep ball the last three weeks and it would be a very good thing for the Dolphins to continue that aggressive strategy this week.
Penalties have absolutely killed this team in recent weeks. From stupid holding penalties on Jason Fox to illegal formations again on Jason Fox and a myriad of issues on special teams, specifically in the return game. Miami can’t afford to get a rhythm going only to lose it to an ill-timed penalty. Miami must play aggressively on both sides of the ball and do so limiting their infractions. If the Dolphins can cut down on the yellow flags thrown at them and still play physical and smart, Miami should win this game. It just depends on what Miami team shows up on Sunday.